Suitcase solar panal Qs from the electrically challenged

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Suitcase solar panal Qs from the electrically challenged

Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:30 am

Hi y'all,

Okay, I admit that I could not be more clueless about electricity. Even rewiring a lamp is outside my abilities at the moment.

But eBay sells 13V "Suitcase Solar Panels" for ~$75 or so, and the possiblities are so intriguing! They come with a female cigarette lighter plug, a male cigarette lighter plug, and alligator battery clamps to attach stuff to.

So, does that mean if we brought along a rechargeable cordless HEPA vacuum (12V) that we could plug in our little car inverter and be able to charge it? How long does it have to sit in the sun to be able to generate a full charge? Any other questions I should be asking but don't know enough to? (I meant about the SOLAR panel, people. ;-))
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Postby teardropper » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:51 am

If it's a suitcase charger, I don't know, but I'll assume there is a charge controller. You will need a battery and an inverter to run your 12v things. Solar panels are battery chargers. I'd recommend you do a little homework on this. It's not too complicated and you need to know what comes with the panel. I have a 64 watt thin film panel, with controller and battery that I can charge my little devices, like my camera battery, and a 110v inverter to power the small things I might want to run, plus some led fairy lights to light my RV Live simply. I have an old motorhome with no A/C or generator, so it's easy to carry this stuff. Do you need electricity? You can charge devices on the playa if that's it. It's a week long camping trip. what do you need?
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Re: Suitcase solar panal Qs from the electrically challenged

Postby ibdave » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:56 am

Bling wrote:Hi y'all,

So, does that mean if we brought along a rechargeable cordless HEPA vacuum (12V)


This is the funniest thing I read today... A HEPA Vacuum on the playa... :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: Suitcase solar panal Qs from the electrically challenged

Postby ygmir » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:58 am

ibdave wrote:
Bling wrote:Hi y'all,

So, does that mean if we brought along a rechargeable cordless HEPA vacuum (12V)


This is the funniest thing I read today... A HEPA Vacuum on the playa... :roll: :roll: :roll:


hey IBD, you remember, how nice those are with the "special attachments".....don't you?
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:59 am

Now, now. We're not planning to vacuum up the whole Playa. Just bits of it that get into our RV. :D
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:14 am

Consider the Duracell Powerpack , or similar. It's a battery, inverter, charge controler "all in one" that you can recharge with your solar panel. I believe it's about 400 watts top power. Not a big battery though, but lite.
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Postby Dr Helix » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:14 am

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Bits!!!!! hhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha

of the playa!!!!


ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!

You're killing me!

Bits!
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:18 am

Thanks, Boijoy, we'll look into that.

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Postby Boijoy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:18 am

HEY!! I had one of those "bits" hit my leg in a dust storm.. boute ripped a hole in me.. BEWARE THE BITS!!! and Kibbles too. :)
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Postby pinemom » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:52 am

{{gigglesnort}}



cleaning up...whilst still on the playa....God B'ewbs are cute!
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:01 am

Depends on your insolation, and there is usually plenty of it on the playa.

http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/ns ... ook/atlas/
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:06 am

Okay, setting aside for a moment the question of whether or not it's sane to attempt to remove any dust while still on the Playa, would a 13V solar panel be able to charge a 12V device, and if so, how often/how much charging could we expect?

We might do the PowerPack thing (or something similar) so we could jump the car, but it's heavy and costs more than the solar briefcase. (Just kinda like the spy aspect of that. A briefcase with solar inside! Cool!)
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Postby teardropper » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:16 am

You need to find out whether the suitcase has a controller. If it does it can be hooked up to a battery. And voltage is not what you look for in the PV panel. It's watts. Is that a 13 WATT panel? They all charge 12 volt batteries. I shouldn't say that, but I've only seen 12v. Do some homework before you come back here. You need to learn some jargon.
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:21 am

Arghh, yes, it's 13 WATTS, not volts. (I admitted up front that I don't have the vaguest clue what the difference is, and I'm not interested in becoming an electrician). The listing description doesn't mention a controller, but there are connections attached for alligator clips and car lighter plugs.

Okay, so 13 WATT panel, 12 VOLT device. ???

I swear, I know OTHER useful stuff. Just not this.
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Postby teardropper » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:39 am

Well, at least give a link to it, and I'll have a look.
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:42 am

Thanks!!! :D Here's one--it says 12 Volts, 13 Watts. http://cgi.ebay.com/12V-Briefcase-Solar ... 2066wt_806
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Postby thisisthatwhichis » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:42 am

Post all of the specs for the solar panel here.....

Then some folks might be able to help you out......







hehehe..... hepa vacuum.......sorry.....giggles...... :lol:
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:46 am

13 watts is not alots...
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:50 am

matter of fact. I have a 30 watt briefcase & i'm not sure it will be enough to keep my Duracell topped off. but thats the max power charge it will take via solar panel. have you considered just taking a broom and dust pan for the 'bits". ? :?
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Postby teardropper » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:25 pm

It sounds like there is a controller of some kind built in. I think it will power a 40-50 amp/hour battery. Someone may have better info, but I am able to charge 2 225 ah 6v batteries, golf cart batteries with a 64 watt panel. You should look for a battery about this size and an inverter big enough to handle the largest wattage appliance you want to run.

Maybe they've talked you out of the vacuum cleaner. If you have a sealed, A/C motorhome, you will have a gennie to run the A/C. Unless you really want to have a solar panel and battery, why not clean up when you run your generator? It should handle this.
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Postby AntiM » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:27 pm

We have one of those suitcase panels. We use it to charge a 12 V battery (deep cell marine) which is then used to run such things as lights.

DO NOT use the RV's battery to run AC devices. It can be done, but personally, I wouldn't risk it. AC is 115 (or so) wall outlet voltage. The volts from a battery are DC, which is why you'd need a inverter.

Watts are made of volts and amps... so you'd have to know how much amperage your vacuum draws to know how fast it will kill a fully charged battery. I'd think pretty quickly, vacs tend to be power hogs.

We do have a 12 volt wet-dry vacuum cleaner, MyLArry has it on his truck. It is specifically made to run directly off of DC voltage (that's your 12 volts).
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:30 pm

I called it an RV, but we built it ourselves, and it has no water or A/C hookups and no generator. :D

Ack! Watts = volts + amps?

The vacuum's description (still thinking about this!) says this:
120 VAC, 60 Hz, 15 W

???
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Postby AntiM » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:38 pm

Volts X amps, but yeah, basically.

15 W is 15 watts. Little thing is it? That just doesn't sound right. 15 A, maybe.

Anyway, you need a power inverter. The solar panel is putting out DC volts, and your vac is AC.

I'm guessing you might get 15 or 20 minutes of vacuuming before the battery goes flat. Best I can do without seeing the vac and doing the math.

LOL, don't use the battery which runs your vehicle. If you kill it, you're stuck.
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Postby thisisthatwhichis » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:46 pm

Bling wrote:I called it an RV, but we built it ourselves, and it has no water or A/C hookups and no generator. :D

Ack! Watts = volts + amps?

The vacuum's description (still thinking about this!) says this:
120 VAC, 60 Hz, 15 W

???


That vacuum runs on AC voltage, not DC (like your car battery). You would need an inverter to change the DC battery to AC voltage. And that will drain a car battery pretty fast.
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Postby teardropper » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:49 pm

Well, if you don't have a sealed, A/C motorhome, you should give up now. The dust is there, and you might be able to hold it back for a day or two, but it will get in. My motorhome is not A/C and I left window open some time. Just figure you've got a cleaning job to do when you get home.
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Postby some seeing eye » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:50 pm

A good resource for solar is the Alternative Energy Zone -AEZ- camp. They have their own message board at https://lists.burningman.com/mailman/li ... nergy-list

The panel might be something like 800mA at peak sun (~10W). I don't believe it has a charge controller. The missing variable you need to calculate the charge time is the mAH of the rechargeable battery in the vacuum. A better solution would be gelcell and an external charge controller for other power needs.

Solar stuff is not that hard, but it takes some work to "get". Maybe your hometown has some of the dorkbot.org people who work on solar, or the AEZ might be at the regionals.

(your note that the vacuum is 12v(DC) and 120VAC are in conflict)
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Postby Bling » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:04 pm

We do have a small inverter that plugs into our car charger. And we're buying furnace filters to pop into the windows so we can leave them open to catch the breeze without completely dusting the place up. But I'm still confused about whether this solar panel is worth bothering with.
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Postby Boijoy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:19 pm

Oh well.. THEN you can use the solar panel to top off your car battery. Make SURE to use the charge controller. It basically shuts off the solar power to your battery so you don't over charge it. ( that would be a very very bad thing ) they you can just use your car ciggy lighter inverter thingy to run your " bits collector".

13w still not very much though.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:32 pm

Ok...not great at this, but have helped friends with their solar and battery setups for various things, so let me chime in.

Others can answer the "Will this work" better than I.

Ok, with solar panels, they absorb the sunlight and convert it to electricity. They have a peak rating...that is...."Under optimal light conditions, how much electricity can this make from the sun?" So that's the power rating coming from the panel.

Next, you need a device called a charge controller. This acts sorta like an electrical traffic cop. It controls and smooths out the dirty and somewhat unreliable electricity coming from the solar panels. It is possible to power devices from the charge controller, but normally people connect batteries to them. This allows you to store electricity made NOW, for use LATER (presumably when there is no sun).

Next, you have batteries. There are different types, but you will see people recommending "deep cycle" or "marine" batteries. These are more expensive, but can hold a charge longer so they are normally worth the extra expense.

Ok, so now you have the three parts of the collection system. All of these run on DC...or direct current. Wikipedia can explain this better than I ever could. But it is important to know/understand that generally (and this is not some sort of absolute) that things made to run on DC are generally lower power. Think small lighting, maybe a small fridge in an RV, etc. You generally need quite a bit of DC power to run larger things.

AC, the type of electricity that comes from your plugs at home, tends to power much more powerful things. It is possible to convert from one to the other, but know that each time you convert, some amount of electricity is lost in the conversion.

So those should give you some concepts to at least reason your way through. Most people try to find ways to get DC things that suit their needs....lights, car stereos, vacuums(?!) that are built for DC. Then they simply find ways to charge the marine batteries that supply them. This can be done by your vehicle as its running (takes some modification...it doesn't just happen by hooking up the tail lights!) or by doing solar power, etc.

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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:46 pm

Staying away from any technical speak that will come across like Greek ebonics, any size solar panel will charge any size battery... eventually. What's important is how much power you use, and how fast you can replace it with your solar cell.
A 13-watt panel is pretty weak.
If you aren't going to keep your extremely awesome trailer (I saw the pics!) closed and sealed up, it IS going to get dusty inside. Furnace filters may help but won't eliminate it. Seal around them with tape. Seal everything. Even the tiniest crack will BLOW dust in during a dust storm.
If you can afford it, quiet Honda or Yamaha "suitcase" type generators are the playa power kings, but if you do solar, get a setup with as high a wattage rating as you can.
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